Memos from the Middle

Smack-Dab in the Middle of Living

The Capsule Wardrobe

For over a year, I’ve been fascinated by this idea of a capsule wardrobe. Now, I was finally ready to give it a go. I purchased a three pack of foldable storage bags to have three different capsules (along with a few other clothing items for good measure) and set about removing all of my clothes from my closet.

Walking back and forth from my closet to my couch where I organized items in stacks by type, I started to get overwhelmed by how much stuff I was actually pulling out, and this did not even include the pieces I had recently purchased or the t-shirts, workout clothes, and undergarments packed into a nearby dresser. I had a plan, though. I was going to make these three capsules, and the small size of each bag would help me.

Well, the bags were actually Mary Poppins-like and much deeper than I thought, and each one held the equivalent of three (or four) capsules worth of clothes. The futility of the enterprise washed over me, but I was ashamed to admit it to my husband who had watched me fold and pack with gusto.

The next morning, the Holy Spirit nudged me out of bed, and after my Bible study and devotion, I had to get outside into the open air to meet God under the sky He laid out lifetimes ago. The air was cool, and the sun had not yet risen to it’s position of summer scorch, and I let Him speak to my spirit.

As I walked around the track, I saw my closet with these three huge storage bags. I see the dresses and blazers and skirts that I just did not want to fold, and I realized how selfish I had been with God’s provision.

“I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me…I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these, my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.” (Matthew 25: 43, 45 NLT)

I smiled at God. For over a year, He has been asking me to lay out everything I had. For over a year, He has been asking me to take stock of the abundance I was hoarding. For over a year, He has been wanting me to realize how much of what He has blessed me with I have been wasting.

I walked on, seeing the food rotting in the refrigerator because GrubHub and Door Dash are much more convenient. I walked on, noting the complaints about working into the late hours of the evening. I walked on, feeling the weight and magnitude of the recognition that I am the man building a bigger barn!

But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” (Luke 12: 20-21, NLT)

I walked on in awe of God, who yet again was answering my prayer in the most unexpected way. I have been praying that God help me love Him and praise Him deeply. I have been wondering how I could know God, but not be overcome with joy and passion every time I think about Him. I have been asking to know the character of Christ that I may emulate Him in my daily living, that I may, like Him, be steadfast and joyful in my obedience to God. And here was the answer: I love the stuff of this world more. I am more willing to build this earthly treasure.

Clothes: how insignificant to the one with the abundance! I can give 90% of what I own away, and still I would have plenty. But if I am unwilling to give them away, because I love that dress or look fly in those pants, how much more am I unwilling to do. And what does that say to God about my commitment to Him and Jesus’ command to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind” (Matthew 22: 37, NLT).

Friend, as you can probably surmise, this is not about clothes! This is about how we prioritize so much of this life over the life to come. This is about how much we make of ourselves and our stuff and how little we make of God.

And now that I know better, what am I going to do?

For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” (1 John 2: 16, NLT)

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